Time in Santiago was pretty relaxed after arriving. Much sleeping, catching up with some fellow pilgrims (mainly Team Belgium 2, Lisa from Austria) and not much walking. Mass was a must though I didn’t have the luck to catch another view of the Botafumeiro. I aslo enjoyed a German guide tour around the cathedral and (less so) an open air screening of some Spanish movie.
After two days of waiting, Guelane arrived in Santiago on Thursday morning about 10am. Both legs swollen and now using the once so despised hiking pole, but in good spirits overall having completed a 500km journey (460km to be exact from Hontanas).
We had another breakfast egg together (which we came to love on the camino instead of any power bar type food!) and after a coffee I left him at the hotel. He would go on to celebrate with his Italian friends before flying to Paris the next day.
I instead got back into walking mode towards fisterra. The name originates from the Romans that considered the spot the end of the world (‘finis terrae’). The distance of 86km wasn’t much considering 755km lay behind me and additionally offered the prospect of a less crowded pilgrimage. indeed, right as you left the cathedral and walk past the parador you are essentially leaving santiago and soon find yourself in a forest type environment. real fun to walk. only issue is the large distance between hostels / bars (usually 10km). unusual and no doubt a direct function of fewer pilgrims (you can’t have it all i guess!).
My flight back to london (in time to pick up Alex after school on wednesday as usual) was only scheduled for the 9th of September. So there was no rush and a full six days of walking ahead (to cover 86km to Fisterra & another 28km to Muxia … so 20km per day). i took 4 days to fisterra where an amazing seaside was waiting. the atlantic. the end of the world. a highlight for me was to meet frederic (france) one lat time. we hadn’t seen each other since a few glasses of wine in Logrono. He was already on his way back from fisterra having been walking for two month now. and it wasn’t to end here. his plan is to walk back to a small town near marseille and on my estimate (well, google maps really) will take him another two month. since he has been mainly sleeping outdoor I wish him warm nights on his way. great pleasure to meet him.
what do i take back, what has changed? many will probably ask me this question in some form or shape. does the camino deliver what it promises? lets start here. many of my issues I had addressed before I came here to clear the head. a few issues required some thinking as to what to do next and i have gotten my answers, ambitions or whatever you want call it. its nice to see you are not the only in life with troubles. many of the (non-student, adventure type) pilgrims carry their own burden and listening to them helped to put things in context. what was most inspiring was to be off the grid for a month (yes my data usage was huge due to blog, but you know what I mean). apart from cash withdrawals I paid in cash for four weeks, meet so many new people, never know what exactly will happen next, being free to take a rest, sleep, walk at night … being free!